LK Metrology’s 5-Axis Coordinate Measuring Machine
Rachel Maya Gallagher posted on April 10, 2019 |

A new coordinate measuring machine (CMM) by LK Metrology, Inc is using five axes to make complex measurements for verifying dimensional accuracy and inspecting the surface finish of components. Without leaving the surface of the component being measured, the stylus can capture coordinates of up to 4,000 points per second.

Above, the SCANtek 5 recently introduced by LK Metrology. The component being measured by the machine has a complex surface area with many grooves and holes.
Above, the SCANtek 5 recently introduced by LK Metrology. The component being measured by the machine has a complex surface area with many grooves and holes.

LK Metrology, a CMM-specific division of Nikon Metrology, partnered with Renishaw to develop the Altera CMM SCANtek 5. Their CMM hardware is coupled with Renishaw’s REVO-2 system (a ceramic head and probe, discussed below) and multi-sensor technology. Renishaw develops both operational technology and software for coordinate measuring machines as well as for technology in healthcare, scientific equipment, and metal 3D printing. LK Metrology specializes exclusively in coordinate measuring machines and uses Renishaw’s Modus software to create programs for complex measurement.

Renishaw explains that 5-axis technology is being used to break through the upper limit of speed imposed by the machine and servo system stiffness in 3-axis systems. The ceramic construction of the CMM beam and spindle must guarantee mechanical and thermal stability for consistent performance across different manufacturing environments, which means that it will be extremely stiff in order to make measurements without compromising accuracy. By moving this stiff beam and spindle in five axes, the accuracy can stay but the measurement tools will have the mobility to operate at higher speeds.

The 5-axis coordinate measuring machine shown above can measure the true diameter of holes down to 0.098” using a 1mm stylus. The Altera CMM SCANtek 5 can inspect fine bores down to 5mm. (Image courtesy of Triumph Fabrications and Renishaw.)
The 5-axis coordinate measuring machine shown above can measure the true diameter of holes down to 0.098” using a 1mm stylus. The Altera CMM SCANtek 5 can inspect fine bores down to 5mm. (Image courtesy of Triumph Fabrications and Renishaw.)

Other features of the new CMM include different tip arrangements and knuckle joints that can combine detailed surface finish analyses with other measurements in a single operation, as well as change racks up to one meter in length that can store sensors, probes, and styli for automatic exchange during a measuring sequence. The REVO-2 head can be quickly exchanged for a vision probe during the measuring process to increase data collection rates.

The MODUS software referenced above can run programs created in CAD as well as those created using the native DMIS (Dimensional Measuring Interface Standard) software. In addition, the Wizards in the Windows programming environment included in the software contains macros and standard scanning routines including helical, circular and sweep, decreasing the need for specialist programming skills by operators of the machine.

For those in the market for a coordinate measuring machine, check out our tips on choosing the best CMM for your quality process. Otherwise, take a look at ways to use augmented reality software to make CMMs more user-friendly.


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